Eade’s first CD in seven years is a surprise of sorts, possessing a mostly pop or folk sensibility that brings both Joni Mitchell and Norah Jones to mind. The previously adventurous Eade is relatively straight-ahead here and not looking to push the envelope. Having said all that, this is a great recording, and Eade sings as well as ever, if not better. Her cohort for this series of duets, young pianist Jed Wilson, is up to the task, accompanying her brilliantly with some formidable solo statements to boot. Wilson’s a student at the New England Conservatory of Music, where Eade has taught voice since 1984.
Besides Eade’s exceptional singing abilities, she is a first-class composer/lyricist. “Open Letter” is a prime example of that skill—a tune awaiting widespread adoption by other singers who hear this, written in remembrance of Jobim with a bridge remindful of him. “Go Gently to the Water” is a moving, hymnlike and beautifully sung Eade composition, a spiritual love song with Wilson sounding much like Abdullah Ibrahim during his pensive solo. “What’s the Use” features Eade’s expressive vocalized final passage closing out an absorbing song of regret. “W.G.” is a stunningly memorable composition and performance, with a lyric you are almost compelled to write down and reflect upon. “The Last Bus Home” is just as good in both words and music.
The icing on the cake is comprised of Eade-Wilson’s accomplished takes of Van Steeden/Clarkson’s “Home,” Leonard Cohen’s “In My Secret Life,” Coleman/Leigh’s “You Fascinate Me So” and Livingston/Evans’ “Never Let Me Go,” the latter two being the jazziest interpretations on the CD.
With the proper promotion and some luck, this CD could hit the charts in a big way. But even if that doesn’t happen, those who seek it out will be amply rewarded.